Continued from: Board of Trustees
156. The overall machinery for the Government of Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese, and for the direction of its affairs shall be vested in the Pastor-in-Council (hereafter referred to as “Council”) which is under the ultimate authority of the Pastor.
COMPOSITION OF THE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
157.The members of the Pastor-in-Council shall consist of:
The Pastor (Chairman)
Head of the Diocese and his Deputy
Other members of the Board of Trustees
Such non-permanent members as the Pastor may from time to time ask to be co-opted.
FUNCTIONS OF THE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
158. The Pastor-in-Council, under the Pastor’s authority and constituted in accordance with this Constitution, shall have the final directive on all Church matters relating to the Diocese, including:
(i) Custodianship of the Constitution of Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese;
(ii) Amendment and Interpretation of the Constitution of the Church and ensuring its implementation and observation;
(iii) Custodianship of Church Laws and Rules;
(iv) Maintenance and Interpretation of Church Doctrine;
(v) Maintenance of Discipline;
(vi.) Publication of Gospel Diary, Almanacs, Hymn Books Calendars, Church Periodicals and all other Church Literature.
MEETINGS OF THE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
159. The Council shall meet at such time and at such place as shall be determined by the Pastor, who has the sole authority to summon a meeting of the Council.
160. In the absence of the Pastor, or where the Pastor is not available, and, where it becomes necessary to convene a meeting of the Council, the Head of the Diocese (wherever possible with the consent of the Pastor) may cause a meeting to be convened through the Secretary to the Council and in accordance with Clause 162(iii) and (iv) hereunder.
161. Under the circumstances as set out in Clause 160 such a meeting is deemed to be “Emergency”. Decisions taken at all such Emergency meetings of the Council shall only be valid after ratification by the Pastor in writing.
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
162. The Council shall appoint a Secretary from among its members. The Secretary to the Council shall by virtue of this Constitution be vested with the following:-
(i) he shall hold Office until the Council otherwise directs;
(ii) he shall act as Secretary at all times when the Council is holding a meeting in any capacity of its various functions as conferred upon it by this Constitution;
(iii) he shall send out Circulars to convene a meeting of the Council, and shall ensure the validity of such Circulars by taking due care that they are signed by the Pastor;
(iv) agenda for discussion at a Council meeting shall be prepared by the Secretary after due consultation with the Pastor;
(v) in the absence of the Secretary, the Council may appoint a member from amongst its membership to act as Secretary for any particular meeting and f6r any specific period;
(vi) under such circumstances where the Secretary to the Council is absent or is unavailable, the Pastor may instruct another member to act in the capacity of Secretary and so send out circulars to convene a meeting subject to the provision of Clause 162(iii) and (iv) as enumerated above;
(vii) he shall perform such other functions as directed by the Council.
OFFICE OF TREASURER TO THE PASTOR-IN-COUNCIL
163. The Council shall appoint a Treasurer from among its members. The Treasurer to the Council shall, by virtue of this Constitution, be vested with the following:-
(i) he shall hold Office until the Council otherwise directs;
(ii) he shall collect and administer such funds of the Council as the Council shall direct:
(iii) under the authority of the Council, he shall carry out on behalf of the Council such duties relating to the finances of Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese as the Council shall direct from time to time;
(iv) he shall keep up-to-date and proper books of accounts of the finances of the Church;
(v) he shall perform such other duties as the Council shall direct from time to time;
(vi) whenever the Council so directs, he shall have an Assistant who shall act for him in his absence.
ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW PARISHES
164. Members intending for whatever reason to set up new parishes shall, AS THE VERY FIRST STEP, obtain IN WRITING, the approval of the Pastor who is vested with the sole and ultimate authority for the approval of the establishment of new parishes.
165. In the absence of the Pastor, however, the Head of the Diocese may give approval for the establishment of new parishes subject to ratification by the Pastor.
166. Production of evidence of purchase of land (that is, at least, a purchase receipt bearing the name of Celestial Church of Christ Nigeria Diocese or just Celestial Church of Christ) shall be a condition precedent to the granting of permission to establish a new parish.
167. Original purchase receipt in the case of land purchased for the Church or a deed of transfer to the Church in the case of land surrendered as a gift to the Church shall be submitted to the Board of Trustees who will make appropriate arrangement for its custody and safe keeping.
168. It shall be the duty of the Board of Trustees to make appropriate and exhaustive enquiries as to the genuineness of the title before accepting the same for its custody.
Prospective parishes shall ensure, however, that due care is taken in ascertaining the validity of vendors rights to the property on which it is proposed to build the new parish Church buildings.
D I S C I P L I N E
169. The Parochial Committee of each parish shall have the power to apply disciplinary measures in minor cases affecting their parishes.
170. Whenever it becomes necessary to apply sterner disciplinary action, the Parochial Committee concerned shall report the matter to:
(a) The Pastor
(b) The Head of the Diocese or, in his absence, his Deputy, or
(c) The Pastor-in-Council
The disciplinary action to be taken, while depending on the severity of the offence committed and on proven guilt, shall in these circumstances, always bear the ratification of the Pastor.
TAKE OVER OF CHURCHES OF OTHER DENOMINATIONS
171. The take-over of existing Churches of other Christian denominations by Celestial Church of Christ shall be accomplished only on the sole responsibility and authority of the Pastor.
172. Churches of other denominations wishing to change to Celestial Church of Christ shall intimate their wishes in writing to the Pastor through the Board of Trustees renouncing their former tenets and the regulations of their former Church and shall declare their resolve to embrace fully the tenets and regulations of Celestial Church of Christ as set out in its Constitution.
173. The Pastor may, if he so desires, order a full investigation of such a Church wishing to merge with Celestial Church of Christ. After conducting full investigation as desired by the Pastor, report will be forwarded to the Pastor through the Board of Trustees.
174. A Church which was already fully registered shall before merging into Celestial Church of Christ surrender its Certificate of Registration to the Board of Trustees. Such a Church shall also intimate its decision to merge into Celestial Church of Christ to the proper Government Agency responsible for this purpose.
175. In all cases, whether registered or unregistered, Churches wishing to merge into Celestial Church of Christ shall surrender to the Board of Trustees all landed property and building of whatever tenure or description belonging to it. These shall be vested in the Board of Trustees.
176. The Pastor may, after due consideration of all facts before him, decree on his sole responsibility and authority as follows:
(a) Reject the merger outright;
(b) Approve the merger with or without modifications to any or all the provisions above stated;
(c) where the Pastor’s decision is as contained in Clause 176(b) above, the Pastor may
(i) order the closure of such an existing Church seeking merger into Celestial Church of Christ while directing all its members to nearby established parishes of Celestial Church of Christ
or (ii) allow the Church taken over to remain and function
as a parish within the provisions of this Constitution. In instances as contained in Clause 176(b) above, procedures to be adopted shall include any or all of the following.–
(1) Baptism as necessary (Acts 19:1-6);
(2) Modification to existing Church building structure , if necessary-,
(3) Rededication and sanctification of existing Church building that is being taken over;
(4) Appointment of a Pastor’s Representative to the new parish.
177. To conform with the Revelation made by the Holy Spirit, the Altar area within all Church building of’ Celestial Church of Christ shall be rectangular in shape and shall face EAST. The alter shall be cut off from the rest of the Church by a handrailing extending along the full width of the Church.
178. The inner altar shall be demarcated by low handrailing with a single central entrance; the seating arrangement within the inner altar apart from the Table and High Altar shall comprise the chairs of the Pastor Founder on the right (facing the altar) close to the wall and that of the Supreme Evangelist A. A. BADA on the left further away from the wall, both chairs being unequal in size. The arrangement is modelled on what obtains at the Supreme Headquarters Church in Porto Novo.
179. Subject to full compliance with the above specific requirements, variety in the architectural/structural designs of Church Buildings is allowed.
180. All Church property at a parish such as land, money, and musical instruments and other materials and things used for glorifying God, belong not to any individual or group of persons, nor are they things which a group of people can share among themselves or their family. In this connection, it is hereby emphasised that all properties of the Church should be registered and retained in the name of the Celestial Church of Christ.
181. Property acquired for specific Church use must be reserved only for that purpose. Any parish which for one reason or the other is closed down must send all its property to Headquarters to further the work of God. Anybody or parish which flouts this regulations and proceeds to share Church property as forbidden is liable to prosecution by the Law.
182. Pastor’s share is that from which the Pastor, Supreme Evangelist, Superior Senior Evangelist, Senior Evangelist, Evangelist, Assistant Evangelists and all other full time Church workers receive their stipends. These stipends, not being fixed amounts, are not salaries but shares of the monthly takings (Malachi 3:8-12; Numbers 18:8-26; 1 Corinthians 9:13 & 14, 16:1-3).
FINAL AUTHORITY IN INTERPRETATION OF THE CONSTITUTION
183. The Pastor-in-Council under the ultimate authority of the Pastor, shall be responsible for the interpretation of the Doctrinal Standards of the Church, and all matters relating to any question of interpretation, construction, intendment, or validity or any of the provision of this Constitution, and of its Regulative Procedures, including any regulations, directives, resolutions or orders made by it relating thereto, subject always however to the provisions of Clause 161.
PROCEDURE FOR ALTERING THE CONSTITUTION
184. The Pastor, by himself or on the recommendation of the Pastor-in-Council, may revoke, alter or add to any of the provisions of this Constitution.
RANKS AND ROBES
185. Celestial Church of Christ has a hierarchy in which the different ranks are distinguished by the robes worn. Members shall adhere strictly to the provision relating to seniority, robes and ranks as contained in the Church publication “ORDER OF SENIORITY AND PROMOTION AND DRESSING RANK BY RANK” together with the accompanying chart and drawings of robe.
186. Normally, the highest rank in the hierarchy of the Church to which members may be elevated by promotion is that of the corresponding ranks of Superior Senior Leader, Superior Senior Wolida and Superior Senior Elder. Consequently, those who have attained these ranks should not expect automatic promotion to the higher ranks of Assistant Evangelist and above whether or not they are full time Church Workers.
187. Where vacancies occur in the higher ranks of Assistant Evangelist and above, selection from the corresponding ranks of Superior Senior Leader, Superior Senior Wolida and Superior Senior Elder shall be made after serious consideration as to the suitability of the respective candidates by the Pastor assisted, if necessary, by a special committee of the Pastor-in-Council.
188. The Pastor, in whom resides all authority in the Church, may at his sole discretion ‘make direct appointments to any rank including that of Assistant Evangelist, Evangelist and above.
ROLE OF FEMALE MEMBERS
189. For emphasis, it is repeated here that female members during menstruation are not allowed to come within the precincts of the Church until after their sanctification after seven clear days; and where the’ menstruation extends beyond seven days, two
clear days should be allowed for after stoppage before sanctification. (Lev. 15:19; Matt 5:17-19).19).
190. In Celestial Church of Christ, women are not permitted to preach the sermon or read the lesson or make announcements during Church devotional services. Indeed, they are not allowed to perform any spiritual functions connected with conducting of services in the Church other than saying the prayers when asked and reading portions of the Bible quoted by’ the preacher.
191. In Celestial Church of Christ, under no circumstances shall women say the grace during devotional services or lead men in prayers. This is in accordance with St. Paul’s injunction (1 Cor. 14:34-35; Gen. 3:16).
192. But outside the Church amongst a congregation of women and in outdoor preaching, female members may perform spiritual functions of preaching.
193. Female members are not permitted within the precincts of the Church until forty-one days after child birth when they are obliged to go to Church for thanksgiving.
194.Female members in their period after eight days shall go to the Church for sanctification in the prescribed manner before entering the Church. The process of sanctification in this regard shall be as follows:
the female member concerned shall come to the Church premises with a pail of water, candle, sponge and soap. She shall kneel at the Western entrance outside the Church building facing the altar before the Pastor’s Representative or his appointees and shall hold her candle with the pail of water, sponge and soap in front of her. The Pastor’s Representative or his appointee shall light the candle and, after singing appropriate spiritual songs, he shall say a prayer of forgiveness and sanctification. After this, he shall put the candle in the pail of water and the female member shall go and have a bath with the water, sponge and soap. She is now free to enter the Church.
This process of sanctification shall not be confused with the normal one obligatory to all members, male and female, on entering the Church by any of the entrances when they should dip their hands in the Holy water by the side of the door and make the sign of the cross before entering the Church.
195. Celestial Church of Christ respects marriages solemnised in holy wedlock in accordance with covenants entered into between husband and wife before God at His Holy Altar.
196. All marriages in holy wedlock solemnised in other Christian churches are recognised by Celestial Church of Christ. All vows made at such Christian are recognised by, Celestial Church of Christ as inviolate because anyone who covenants with God but fails to honour it sins before God (Ecc. 5:4-6).
197.All marriages solemnised in Celestial Church of Christ shall be in accordance with the Marriage Act under which our Church is licensed.
198. Anointment is a spiritual act whose raison d’être dates back to the fall of ADAM. Following that fall and the subsequent destruction of the world by water during the time of NOAH , God sought to give through MOSES the ten Commandments regulating human conduct to the people of Israel and the world. While MOSES was away communing with God to receive the commandments, AARON sinned by erecting graven images for the people to worship. When MOSES saw this on his return, he was so annoyed that he broke the tablet; but he subsequently entreated God on Aaron’s behalf. God then said that if Aaron’s’ sin ‘was to be wiped out, he, MOSES, would have to anoint him with oil. This MOSES did and so AARON became the first man to be anointed. After his anointment, he was renamed LEVI. He thus started the anointment which all “sons of LEVI” followed.
Again, when the people of Israel asked for a King like other tribes, GOD was pleased with their
request. He chose SAUL for them and SAUL’s anointment marked his coronation. But when SAUL
disobeyed God’s word just as ADAM had done, he lost the support of God and, therefore, the crown
(1 Samuel 15: I – end).
God chose DAVID and he was anointed King to replace SAUL (1 Samuel 16: 11 – 13). Similarly the anointment of SOLOMON settled the rivalry between him and ADONIJAH as to who should succeed DAVID as King. All subsequent Kings of Israel were similarly anointed.
With regard to our Lord JESUS CHRIST, His uniqueness had been foretold in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7: 14 – 15) where He was referred to as “EMMANUEL”, meaning “God is with us”. His two names, JESUS CHRIST, define two different aspects of HIM. JESUS means “SAVIOUR” while CHRIST means “the ONE who is anointed KING from his mother’s womb”. (Luke 1: 30 – 33; 2:11). It was the name CHRIST that most worried Herod. He, Herod, had been anointed King like those before him, but it seemed to him that, by the very definition of the word CHRIST, this new born baby had been anointed King even before He was born. (Matt. 2: 1 – 5 and : 6).
It is this spiritual act of anointment that Celestial Church inherited gloriously by grace. Anointment after baptism in Church of Christ is very important. The ceremony of anointment is performed only by the Pastor usually once a Year during the Christmas/New Year period.
199. Significance of anointment in Celestial Church of Christ.
Early in the life of Celestial Church of Christ on earth, the Pastor made a supplication (which was granted) that God should allow that those anointed by him should be endowed with a portion of the power (Holy Spirit) given to him so as to foster in his absence the power and glory of God (Numbers 11: 16 & 17). This is manifested by the fact that whenever an anointed person prays unto God for any specific purpose, the Holy Spirit, in recognition of the mark of anointment on the supplicant, will descend to fulfil that request and then leave (Numbers I 1: 24 & 25). This is different in character from that which permanently resides in God-sent messengers like Moses, Elijah, Elisha, the Pastor Founder S. B. J. Oshoffa etc.
PRECEDENCE OF MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
200. Members of the Board of Trustees are SEVEN in number, four of whom (listed last in clause 145 above) are not full time Church workers. These four, however, have already long attained the rank of full EVANGELIST and will have the insignia of their special position as members of the Board of Trustees displayed on them. These four will take precedence at all times over all Church members who were appointed Assistant Evangelist and Evangelist during the anointing period 1979/1980; that means that, in filing into or out of the Church or any assembly for services, these four members of the Board of Trustees shall file behind all Assistant Evangelists and Evangelists. Only those just appointed Senior Evangelists in 1979/1980 shall file behind these four members of the Board of Trustees.